Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23rd Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper...

Ambassador Report 18

The Matchbox team are enjoying a well-earned rest over Christmas and New Year and so I will have nothing new to report for the next two to three weeks in terms of answers or new models. However, I get the general impression that a Report would be welcome nevertheless.
I have received further information regarding Matchbox collector groups. The first is called Joe’s Diecast Shack and may be found at:

The second site is based in Spain and of course is in the Spanish language. I received information from one of the administrators of, a Spanish forum for collectors of all ages, which includes not only Matchbox but all brands that manufacture vehicles in the 3-inch size. Two of the most active threads in the Spanish forum are the Matchbox ones which cover the mainline:

The second thread is devoted to the current Mattel releases, while the former covers the previous issues.
There has been considerable debate regarding the lack of a poster, catalogue or updated website but, thanks to David Tilley, we do have some knowledge regarding the possible releases of 2014? If you can add to this information, please let me know.

Basic range.

For the basic range, we know the quantity of models is staying the same. 120 models with 5 recolours for a total of 125 editions. Out of these there are 26 new castings which we pretty much know. Some we know by official name, some by the holding name.

(pic) Rumble Raider - blue
(pic) Mound Mover - yellow
(pic) Garbage Gulper - turquoise
(pic) Sea Spy - blue/white/orange
(pic) Terrainiac - black
(pic) Blockade Buster - army green
(licensed) 2014 VW Bulli
(licensed) Land Rover LR4
(licensed) Alfa Romeo 4C
(licensed) 2014 Chevy Silverado
(licensed) Ford F-350 Stake Bed Truck
(licensed) 1963 Mack Pumper Model B
(licensed) Toyota Tacoma Lifeguard
(holding name) Travel Tracker
(holding name) Snowmobile
(holding name) Excavator
(holding name) Long Nose Tractor
(holding name) Grappler
(holding name) Auger
(holding name) Mini Dozer
(holding name) Tracked Tractor
(holding name) Military Dune Buggy
(holding name) Crime Crusher
(holding name) Rapids Rescue
(holding name) Rescue ATV
(holding name) Mega School Bus
1968 Ford Mustang GT/CS – bronze
GMC Wrecker - yellow
Oshkosh M-ATV - tan
Terrain Trouncer - black
Quicksander - dark grey
Cliff Hanger - lemon tan
Ford F-550 Superduty - yellow/grey
Pit King - green/gray
Lamborghini Gallardo Polizia - white
Water Hauler - blue/white
Tractor Plow - orange/gray
Dump Dozer - green/white
Lotus Exige - blue
Chevy K-1500 - white
Pierce Dash Fire Engine - red/white
Jeep Superlift - tan
All Terrain Crane - orange
Porsche Panamera - silver
Ground Grinder - blue/yellow
Road Roller - orange
Jungle Crawler - tan
SWAT Truck - black
Aston Martin DBS Volante - black
BMW R1200GS - blue
Amphi Flyer - green
Ford E-350 Ambulance - red
Toyota 4Runner - gray
1956 Ford Panel Van - red
BMW R1200GR Police Motorcycle - white
Desert Thunder V16 - charcoal
Urban Tow Truck - red
Porsche 911GT3 - orange
International Scout - purple
Sowing Machine - green
2006 Fire Engine - yellow

A further 35 models, added to the 26 new castings gives us 61 of next year's line-up. We also know the Range Rover Evoque may be pushed back into 2014, so we know there will be a version there too. That brings us to 62. So far we know the numbers for 16 of them....

MB1 Porsche 911GT3 - orange
MB2 Urban Tow Truck – maroon
MB4 Aston Martin DBS Volante - black
MB13 Ground Grinder - blue/yellow
MB31 Sowing Machine - green
MB34 Desert Thunder V16 - charcoal
MB35 1974 International Scout 4x4 - purple
MB37 '85 Toyota 4Runner - grey
MB52 Jeep Wrangler Superlift - tan
MB72 2006 Fire Engine - yellow
MB73 BMW R1200GR Police Motorcycle - white
MB74 Amphi Flyer - green
MB75 Ford E350 Ambulance - red
MB101 Blockade Buster - army green
MB107 Mound Mover - yellow
MB115 Terrainiac - black

Now to 5-packs. As before there will be 12 packs, and models known in any pack are listed underneath their names....

Ice Mountain Mission
Vantom - blue
Blizzard Buster - red
Frost Fighter - white
ATV 6x6 - red

Dino Adventure
Swamp Raider - turquoise
Ridge Raider - blue
Rock Shocker - mustard
Rescue Helicopter - red

Battle Mission

Crime Squad

Chevy Suburban - blue
Buick Century Police - blue
Sport SUV - white
Road Raider - silver
SWAT Truck - black (NB - also basic)

MBX Exotics
Lamborghini Miura - golden tan
BMW Z8 - red
Chevy Corvette ZR1 - TBC
Lotus Exige - blue (NB - also basic)
VW W12 - black

Jungle Reconnaissance
Off Road Rider - white
Coyote 500 - red
Land Rover 110 Defender - olive
Jeep Wrangler w/luggage - silver
4x4 Buggy - golden tan

Construction Zone
Ground Grinder - blue/yellow (NB - also basic)
Groundbreaker - grey
Skidster - green
Tractor Shovel - blue

Fire Command
2006 Fire Engine - yellow (NB - also basic)

Rescue Duty

Sea Rescue

City Works

Outdoor Sights

We also know 4 of the exclusive models that will be used for 9/10-packs next year. It was confirmed by Mattel before that any casting used as an exclusive for these 9/10-packs will not be used anywhere else due to the legal wording being used. They got in trouble for using vehicles in other ranges at the same time, so now any model used in these packs will no longer have any use outside of them for the year.

VW Type 34 Karmann Ghia - silvery blue
Batmobile - black
Morgan Aeromax - blue
Opel Frogster - green

Mission Force. We know of 4 upcoming 2014 sets for this.

Skybuster - shuttle - white
Basic - Express Delivery - white
Basic - ATV 6x6 - green

Skybuster - Blaze Buster - yellow/red
Skybuster - Rescue Blade - TBC
Basic - Hazard Squad - white
Basic - Blaze Blaster – yellow
Basic – 2006 Fire Engine – red

Skybuster - Robinson R44 - black
Skybuster - Sikorsky Helicopter - blue
Basic - SWAT Truck - gray
Basic - Ford Explorer - black
Basic - Ford Interceptor Police - white

Skybuster - Boeing AH Apache - black/white
Basic - Jeep Willys - green
Basic - International MXT-MVA - gray

Finally, we know that there is going to be a playset with 3 exclusive models inside....

Whiplash - orange/white
Turn Tamer - yellow/green
Terrain Trouncer – red

David believes this is everything known about next year to date. We know there is no premium series, and Real Working Rigs will be no more for new versions. Hitch 'n Haul/Super Convoy will carry on being produced for whoever wants them but still in the same liveries as before. Jim will have something cool for the next Gathering, and hopefully Dirk and Everett will also be creating some fantastic promos for their events too. I am sure there will be a Toy Fair model next September as well, but all of these are promotional models. The future of the licensed packs (recently reduced from 5-packs to 3-packs) is unknown, but I am assuming we will see some more stuff next year too. If there is anything I have please point it out to me.

Small blister packs have now included the number again so someone, somewhere has listened to this request from collectors. Perhaps for 2015 we could have a number that is not associated with those who have 20/20 vision. I have asked for another magnifying glass from Father Christmas. 

I read recently that Mattel has had another good year when end of year financial figures are considered. It seems that worldwide sales rose by 6%. American net sales increased by 3% and International gross sales by an impressive 9%. Worldwide gross sales by core brands show Barbie rising by 3% but Hot Wheels falling by 2%. For the third quarter, worldwide gross sales for Mattel Girls and Boys Brands were $1.48 billion, up 8% over the previous year.  Worldwide gross sales for Other Girls Brands were up 28%, primarily driven by the Monster High brand. Worldwide gross sales for the Wheels category, which includes the Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tyco R/C brands, were down 9%, primarily affected by diminished sales of Tyco R/C and Matchbox.  If sales of Hot Wheels has fallen by only 2% then one might conclude that sales of Tyco R/C and Matchbox must have been rather disappointing in the past financial year. One presumes Mattel has implemented strategies to arrest this trend for the forthcoming year and we all look forward to a revival in fortunes.

I have yet to see the new BMW 1M as it has not been released to date in the UK. However, there was so much interest when this model was released in the US that I thought my look at History should be specific to this German car manufacturer.

I believe that there are several different versions as follows:

MB 69-I
BMW 328i
MB 11-H
MB 45-B
BMW 3.0 CSi
MB 534
MB 83-A
MB 63-M
MB 26-G
MB 31-H
MB 49-H
BMW 850i
MB 02-H
MB 39-D
MB 28-I
MB 52-C
BMW M1 (with opening bonnet)
MB 52-D
MB 84-C
MB 31-N

MB 59-N
BMW X 5 (with roof lights)
MB 25-J
MB 65-H
MB 61-N
MB 09-I

It is perhaps strange that during the regular wheel and early Superfast period no BMWs were included in the range, though other German brands such as Mercedes, Opel, Volkswagen and Faun had been included. Indeed, Mercedes vehicles included cars, trucks and a coach.
When at last the 3.0 CSi was released in 1976, it featured opening doors. It was also one of five models sent to Bulgaria in 1985 to be painted in a wide variety of colours. In 1987 production shifted to Hungary and further variations were manufactured there for less than a year.

These two colour trial models were used to test the strength of the doors. 

The BMW M1 was released in 1981 and featured an opening bonnet. The model in the foreground had no tampo applied and the model at the rear shows an alternate design that was not used. Within two years it was decided that the opening bonnet could be deleted.

The yellow BMW had trial wheels that were not adopted. The 5 series in the foreground is a resin model and the version at the rear is a colour trial. Two more resin models are shown below. In recent years many BMWs were produced and some of the different models are displayed.

In case you have not seen enough BMWs, here are more of the 3.0 CSi from Hungary and Bulgaria.

I would be grateful if you would send me more questions for the Matchbox team. I cannot promise an answer but I will submit them and I am sure they will do their best.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all collectors of Matchbox a very Happy Christmas and I hope the New Year brings you more Matchbox models to add to your collection.

Nigel Cooper      23th December 2013


  1. i want more of these release.. or at least i wish they would come out more
    MB 83-A


    USA 200 451 MB 63-M

  2. What the what!? When did mattel not mention about the 13' Ford Escape, 13' Dodge Dart, 10' Chevy Camaro SS, or the 14' Corvette C7 Stingray for the 2014 mainline? Maybe wiki is doing a false list of the Matchbox line for 2014.

    Anyways, merry Christmas Nigel! I should have known for saying that at the really first beginning of my comment!

    So speaking of that, I only have 1 question. Again I repeat the question, because this is the question from the very top of my comment, "Why did mattel not mention about the 13' Ford Escape, 10' Camaro SS, 13' Dodge Dart, and the Corvette C7 2014?"

    So that is my only question. Please put up if certain. If not certain, all right then.

    So that's the WHOLE thing mattel has decided for 2014? Great, I can even see some of my favorite models, such as the Porsche Panamera, Porsche 911 GT3, Lamborghini Gallardo polizia, or the Ford Ambulance. I'm really waiting until the lincensed models get to go free for some Matchbox collectors to find.

    And yeah, thanks for showing the lineup.

    Best regards Nigel, best regards...

    Please comment back.... : )

  3. Well deserved rest? What have they even done this year or last? Only a handful of new models, terrible distribution and repaint after repaint.

  4. what is the fate of the international white and orange brush fire truck is only on ebay.

  5. Although some current Matchbox vehicles appeal to me I wonder if some of you feel that Matchbox doesn't seem as interesting as it was is the past. Truth is that certain Matchbox vehicles don't appeal to me and what I in a way wish for is the BMW X5,Honda Element,Badge Blaster make a comeback (although those may be slim chances). Looking back I purchased a number of Hot Wheels but I wish that throughout the decade I looked into the various assortments of Matchbox vehicles but since I didn't I somewhat regret it.Also and I mentioned this in other articles but it personally be swell if Matchbox devised a model of a Cadillac DeVille between 2000 & 2005 but then again under the circumstances what are the chances of that (not trying to be pessimistic.)